Thursday, October 4, 2007

The Faculty of The Department of Art

Nancy Cantor, Chancellor
Eric Spina, Vice Chancellor/Provost
Carole Brzozowski, Dean of CVPA

In light of recent administrative and staffing decisions that have taken place within the Coalition of Museums and Art Centers (CMAC), we as the Department of Art voice our concern as to the vision and direction of this University sponsored initiative. The firing of Astria Suparak and the cancellation of the Yes Men exhibition without wider consultation or regard to the effects of these actions upon the faculty, students or greater Syracuse community, point to larger problems within SU galleries as an institution. These recent decisions made by CMAC are consistent with its short but problematic history: acting without transparency to the exclusion of the constituents it proposes to serve.

Having grown increasingly frustrated by being marginalized in all curatorial, exhibition, and staffing decisions in the galleries and museums maintained by Syracuse University we find that the Coalition of Museums and Art Centers does not serve one of its primary missions. That is to support and work in concert with the educational, creative, and scholarly pursuits of faculty and students. Like faculty in many other departments, many of us developed a relationship with CMAC through working with Astria Suparak to tie curricula and pedagogy to the challenging and innovative curatorial programming brought to the Warehouse Gallery. Through opaque decision making processes that impact the whole of our campus and local communities the separation between CMAC and the greater community has grown even further. Such decisions cannot be made alone without also communicating an indifference to those also affected by the decisions and thoughtlessness towards other community members.

In protest to the method in which CMAC has made decisions at the exclusion of faculty, students, and community members, the Department of Art will not participate in the up-coming Faculty Exhibition at the SU Art Galleries. We insist that the administration reevaluate the termination of Astria Suparak and consider how Astria could play a greater role in the College of Visual and Performing Arts, evaluate how CMAC serves the university community from the perspective of its constituents, and develop an advisory board of faculty, students, and community members to whom CMAC accountable.

The Faculty of The Department of Art

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Syracuse has lost one its greatest assets. Astria Suparak, Inaugural Director of The Warehouse Gallery of Syracuse University, was removed from her position as of Sept. 30th, 2007, despite widespread support from community members, students, faculty, and the international art community. This decision was made unilaterally by Jeffrey Hoone, Executive Director of the Coalition of Museum and Art Centers (CMAC).

At the time of Suparak's dismissal, Hoone also canceled her forthcoming exhibitions, including "Keep It Slick: Infiltrating Capitalism with The Yes Men," due to open in November 2007.